Swedish heavy metal defenders Ram are back with their sophomore release, Lightbringer, after a nearly four year absence, and it does not disappoint in the least. Ram has always been about that classic heavy metal sound which draws from some venerable roots like Priest, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, and even early thrash akin to Metallica or Anvil. But Lightbringer is hardly an homage to the past: I found their approach traditional, yet fresh for this new millennium.
To begin, let's note that Lightbringer has both an intro and outro which are both throwaway pieces in review (with the exception that the intro has such a great title, Crushing The Dwarf Of Ignorance). In between, there is some great melodic heavy metal. The title track, Lightbringer, and the next, In Victory, are simply gems of heavy metal. The former has a fast pace, great groove, and an awesome vocal arrangement. (The vocal arrangements are phenomenal throughout this work.) The latter brings a more steady delivery which culminates with sound guitar solos (another major and impressive feature).
Lightbringer also impresses when Ram draws upon some speedy thrash elements as on Blood God and The Elixir. The latter has some unpredictable tempo changes, sometimes galloping and then steady. Ram also attempts some longer pieces on Suomussalmi and Titan that, on the surface, have some affinity with Iron Maiden and maybe very early Judas Priest. Suomussalmi is more low key in mood, yet still offers a variety of expressive movements. The best of the two, in my opinion, is Titan simply because the vocal arrangements, guitar solos and natural progression give it a more epic feel. The only down moment was Ghost Pilot which sounds like average heavy metal. Thanks to the roaring fret work, even at average, it's a fine song. Much more could be said here, but I think I hit the highlights I was after.
Without doubt, Ram's Lightbringer impressed me. This work is filled with some great classic heavy metal with great arrangements, outstanding vocals and vocal arrangements, and traditional metal guitar solos. Do not overlook this one. Highly recommended!
Without doubt, Ram's Lightbringer impressed me. This work is filled with some great classic heavy metal with great arrangements, outstanding vocals and vocal arrangements, and traditional metal guitar solos. Do not overlook this one.